15. Words are powerful.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

Have you ever stopped to think about the impact your words have? The words we say have great power. Think about it this way: you can talk to your children in positive, uplifting ways. “Jack, I’m so proud of you! You are such a great soccer player!” Saying something like this to your child will encourage him, even if he is not the greatest at soccer. But guess what, your words of encouragement might help him believe in his ability to play and he may improve.

On the other hand, many children are spoken to negatively every day. I cannot tell you the number of instances where grown adults have admit their parents or teachers spoke terrible things to them. “You’re never going to account to anything. No one loves you. You’re going to end up pregnant before you’re sixteen.” Wow! Can you believe children are being talked to this way? My heart breaks for the many people out there who have these words spoken to them.

In this case, the old saying above is not true. Words CAN hurt. Deeply. For many years to come.

People don’t realize that words have power. Both spoken and written, words can either build up or tear down. Something you say can be remembered long after you say it. Maybe even long after you are gone. Take Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous I Have A Dream speech. OR Bush’s “Read My Lips: No New Taxes.” OR JFK’s famous line “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” The list goes on and on.

I challenge you today to think about what you say. Are your words encouraging? Or are you a Debbie Downer? Do you tell the truth? Do you speak words you’d like to hear from the mouths of your children? How will you be remembered for what you say?

For myself, (and this may not be right for everyone) I’ve made a conscious decision to speak only positive words that will encourage and motivate those around me. I won’t participate in conversations where topics get negative (this includes politics and any other reason people don’t get along.) I really, really dislike when people “trash talk” others. We are supposed to love one another, right? I don’t want my kids to ever hear me refer to a particular politician, for example, in a bad way. What example am I setting for them? I don’t want to hear them “trash talking” others. If they hear me do it, they’ll think it’s okay for them, too. Again, this is what I’ve decided for me.

Words have power. Your words say a lot about YOU. I’ll leave you with this sweet verse. It is one of my favorites.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

This is part of a series called 31 Days of Living the Good Life.

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